The Tower of Hercules, the oldest lighthouse in the world in operation

Since the 1st century, the Tower of Hercules has been a witness to myths and legends, it has guided the ships that crossed the Ría de Coruña and it has been the pride of the people of A Coruña. It is the only Roman lighthouse that currently exists and the oldest that is still in operation, which is why it has been declared a World Heritage Site.

Its beauty is indisputable and the views from the top are spectacular, so climbing its 235 steps to reach its top is a unique experience that you should not miss if you visit La Coruña.

We recommend you take this guided tour of the Tower of Hercules so you can get to know it in depth.

History of the Tower of Hercules

La Coruna - Tower of HerculesFor 2,000 years, this impressive tower has watched over the sea and approaching ships.

It was built to guide the ships that made the route to the British Isles in search of copper, iron and tin and was in operation until it was abandoned in the 5th century after the Norman invasions.

It was even abandoned in the 13th century when King Alfonso IX rebuilt the old port, calling it Crunia, and this area began to have a vital importance in the history of Spain thanks to its geographical location and the rise of maritime trade.

It was not until the 18th century that the Tower of Hercules functioned as a lighthouse again, despite the fact that in previous centuries part of its stones were used to build the Castle of San Antón and the walls.

In this way it was restored acquiring the appearance it has today. As can be seen there are two different parts, the lower part from Roman times, and the upper part, from the later restoration.

The visit to the Tower of Hercules

galicia-la-coruna-tower-of-herculesRight next to the hill where the Tower of Hercules is located there is a car park where you can leave your car.

To get to it, you have to go up a wide and long cobbled ramp that starts from the Statue of Breogán, which is located at the bottom.

At the top of the hill is the symbol of La Coruña, an imposing tower with a square base on the outside of which no Roman remains can be seen as they are inside.

You will be able to see these Roman vestiges once you access its interior and begin to climb its 255 steps.

galicia-la-coruna-wind-roseThere are explanatory panels of what you are seeing and where they tell you the history of the monument.

As a curiosity, it should be noted that in ancient times there was an external ramp to climb to the top.

In the upper part, where there used to be a dome, there is now an octagonal construction where the lighthouse is housed and which corresponds to the part restored in the 18th century.

Upstairs there is a viewpoint from which you have exceptional views of La Coruña and the surrounding area, being able to see the coast of Malpica and the Ría de Ferrol.

Source aerial photo

The Sculpture Park of the Tower of Hercules

galicia-la-coruna-menhirsAt the foot of the wonderful monument there is now a sculpture park whose visit perfectly complements the Tower of Hercules.

It is an open-air museum with various sculptures by Galician artists that contrast perfectly with the tower.

Among the sculptures that we can highlight in the Sculpture Park is that of Breogán, the Celtic leader who founded Brigantia and who built a mythical tower in this area of ​​Galicia.

Some even say that the Tower of Hercules is precisely the Tower of Breogán, although other legends say that it was in the same place.

The Menhirs for Peace is another point of special interest. It consists of 12 menhirs with a window in the center through which you can admire the tower, the sea or the sunset.

Next to it is the Monument to the Fusilados, in homage to the victims of the Civil War, many of them shot in this same place.

Very famous is also the Rose of the Winds, perfectly visible from the top of the tower.

You can find more information on the official page of the Tower of Hercules.

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